Letters 04-30-09

Chinese lessons

Dear Editor:

Here’s to the editor of The Pagosa SUN, who displayed courage, insight and social wisdom beyond the typical Archuleta County Republican bubblegum (or make that lemon gumdrop) tapes, as he challenged those who can’t see beyond their rearview mirrors. 

 From their mindless venom-spouting, at best balderdash and hmmminah humminah, in the response letters one can only conclude that it’s a good thing for the future of America that these Republicans are a rapidly disappearing breed,. Move over, polar bears.

 Let’s walk in their shoes for awhile; maybe we too can look forward through their rearview mirrors. Let’s choose a topic that all good Republicans recently openly cherished as they watched and cheered their weekly (highly German SS-like) sitcom “24.”

 Mark Seibel and Warren P. Strobel, McClatchy Newspapers: “The CIA inspector general in 2004 found that there was no conclusive proof that waterboarding or other harsh interrogation techniques helped the Bush administration thwart any ‘specific imminent attacks,’ according to recently declassified Justice Department memos.” Not to mention our Army, who were decidedly against torture in 2002.

 Steve Weissman, Truthout: “If not the Justice Department lawyers, who gave the earlier go-ahead? The Senate report puts the onus directly on the decider-in-chief, President George W. Bush. He issued a written determination on February 7, 2002, ‘that Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, which would have afforded minimum standards for humane treatment, did not apply to al-Qaeda or Taliban detainees.’”

 Well, so much for all Republican hoopla surrounding the potential for Iraqi forces torturing U.S. forces. When it’s inconvenient, how quickly they forget our Constitution, not to mention their much vaunted “values” or Christianity (now, don’t be naive — the message of Jesus is only applicable in church on Sunday. Not to mention how the world saw our national fall from grace) and of far less consideration, the Geneva Conventions.

 Let bygones be bygones, so now that we have forgotten our momentary passing faux pas, let’s do something that might “save America” and launch our bile and vitrol against the first honest, intelligent and challenging president in the past 20 years. 

And just in case the remaining Republicans have lost sight of it, we’re in a global competitive crunch that will have more to do with their children’s well being than taxes. The first to sustainably build out of this global recession will likely have an economic edge. Don’t care? A secondary consideration to dogma? Hmm, you must be taking Chinese lessons.

 Dave Blake

Fish project

Dear Editor:

One common trait of successful people is their willingness to focus on their fumbles. Even when they do well, they insist on looking at what could have done better. Such perfection is a vital component of learning, since we figure out how to get things right by analyzing what we got wrong.

Last May through August, the Pagosa Quality Fishing Project secured over $60,000, with most monies allotted to the release of almost 9,000 trout into the San Juan River. Of the monies raised, the Pagosa Springs Town Tourism Committee supported the project by allocating $25,000 from its 2008 budget. The San Juan River in Pagosa Springs offers easy access for anglers of all ages and skills to experience solitude and bountiful fishing. With tourism dollars slipping in many Colorado towns as much as 25 percent, PQFP set a goal to keep anglers visiting the waters of Pagosa Springs and maintain its tourism market share by using the town’s natural resource — fishing. By stocking the river with trout, anglers not only experienced catching large fish but also increased numbers of fish in a relaxing Pagosa Springs setting.

Spending more than $76 billion a year on hunting and fishing, America’s hunters and anglers would rank in the top 20 list on the Fortune 500. These latest figures demonstrate that season after season hunters and anglers are an economic powerhouse, driving the economy through booms and recessions.

According to 2007 research commissioned by Colorado Division of Wildlife, direct expenditures of over $11 million were reported. A total impact of over $19 million (72 percent fishing expenditures, 28 percent hunting) and an additional 206 jobs were created in Archuleta County.

Considering 6,100 nonresident fishing licenses and 841 resident fishing licenses were sold and anglers had an average stay of 5.4 days with $147 daily expenditures — over $4.8 million in direct expenditures were received in Archuleta County. These figures represent a 12-percent increase in the two-month period (July and August 2008). The fishing season strongly thrives in September and October during hunting season (and continues through the winter and spring months).

PQFP is challenged with filling a funding shortfall for 2009 and stocking just around the corner (end of May 2009). In previous years, Pagosa businesses have supported the project with donations. PQFP is soliciting donations from businesses, regional anglers, and private individuals; as we feel this project is vital to our visitor/tourism revenue. We encourage your support through donations or upcoming fund-raising events.

Through a limited number of dedicated volunteers, PQFP is redefining our local tourism and the intent of tourism tax (both city and county) in terms of proven dollars. Help PQFP support our community tourism with your support. In downward economic trends, our community is wise to support and promote its natural resources that have proven to provide economic stability and town revenue producers. For further information about the project, serving on the PQFP committee, or help with an actual fish stocking, call Thaddeus Cano (PQFP chairman) at 264-2370.

Thaddeus Cano, Wen Saunders, Bill Weiland, Herb Stipe, Doug Neel and Don Sullivan

Rush for pres

Dear Editor:

I was delighted to read in The SUN that 197 Tea Baggers signed a petition to refuse services from any and all tax-supported entities. Without signing this petition, no doubt a few cynical citizens would look on the Tea Baggers as hypocrites and deadbeats. I certainly wouldn’t want such a high-minded and moral group of citizens characterized as such.

I would have liked to attend the meeting, but I was afraid I would stand out like a frog in a punch bowl. First, I actually drink tea although I much prefer coffee. And, I must admit, over the past 80 years, I even had a few sips of beer. For medicinal purposes, of course.

As a boy, I learned to read, write and cipher in tax-supported public schools. In my misspent youth, I attended three state universities, and sad to say, even got a few degrees from a couple of them. Than I got an all-expense-paid job working directly for Uncle Sam for a few years. I spent the next 40 years in the nuclear weapons business and boy, did I spend a bunch of your money. Then I hit rock bottom. I retired on a government pension and social security. I am looking at a $50,000 hospital bill for minor hand surgery. Since I’m a degenerate Democrat, I may try to get Medicare to pay part of the bill. I have nothing but respect for the Tea Baggers who do not have to resort to government handouts.

My friend, Jim Sawicki, considers me mentally disadvantaged, and he is right, of course. (Incidentally, Jim, my hand is doing fine and I’m back writing letters and cutting firewood for the old folks.) If my house caught on fire, I would no doubt do something stupid, like call the fire department. Not Jim. He would power up his generator, hook his garden hose to the well and go to work. No way would Jim hook up to those socialistic enterprises, the power company and the public waterworks. And if he went to the Tea Baggers Ball, I am sure he rode his mule, as it’s against his principles to ride on public roads, which are paid for with taxpayers’ money.

I certainly support the Tea Baggers in their efforts to eliminate all taxes. The best way to prevent Obama from socializing the USA is to cut our military budget from the current trillion dollars per year to zero. That way we can live under a Muslim Theocracy (no abortions) or China communism (no elections, no black presidents). The Tea Baggers are right. To hell with Obama and taxes. Who needs banks, schools, hospitals, roads, armed forces, jobs and old age benefits? Not the Tea Baggers. Rush Limbaugh for president in 2012.

Bob Dungan



Dear Editor:

The Town Tourism Committee (TTC) is proud to announce the formation of a “Local Collaboration committee.” The purpose of this committee is to increase involvement and communication between the TTC and our local community.

We want your feedback and your involvement. The purpose of the TTC is to use money generated by the lodgers tax to promote tourism to Pagosa Springs. We are specifically focused on events, marketing and ideas that bring tourists to Pagosa.

We’ve created an e-suggestion box at ttc@visitpagosasprings.com. Please send in your comments and ideas. How are we doing? How can you help us get more tourists to Pagosa? Share your great ideas?

Additionally we will plan monthly meetings to meet and discuss this feedback, current opportunities, ideas and events. We look forward to hearing from you and seeing you soon.

Morgan Murri

TTC Local Collaboration Subcommittee


Dear Editor:

Well, it has been here and gone. So many people had reasons for not being able to attend any one of the four performances of West Side Story, and I have to say that was their loss. We are now wondering what they can do next year to top this. Everything about this production was amazing. Forty-two in the cast; the singing — inspiring; the dancing was so well done and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves; the fighting very authentic looking; but my favorite was the orchestra. All of the musicians played their hearts out, working with a difficult score. All together wonderful. I saw it twice.

Thanks also to the gentleman for picking up trash on 160, west of town.

Cindy Gustafson

Basin gravel

Dear Editor:

In the Blanco Basin (nine miles south of town on U.S. 84 toward Chama), a neighbor, Jerry Feil, has contracted with Four Corners Materials to crush a massive amount of gravel in the middle of a rural neighborhood affecting all families in the Blanco Basin. Although this has been previously reported in The SUN, I am unaware of a letter to the SUN’S editor detailing the hazards to the public and the proposed disruption this will cause to families in the area.

It is uncontested that the gravel planned to be initially crushed, if allowed by the county commissioners’ court, is between 150,000 and 200,000 cubic yards. Adjoining landowners were told that the gravel would be removed in 20 cubic-yard loads. Simple math illustrates that it will take between 7,500 to 10,000 round-trip truck loads to remove the gravel. On County Road 326, for nine miles of a bad gravel road where three people have died, one of whom was killed only last summer, Mr. Feil and Four Corners Materials propose to run 15,000 to 20,000 one-way gravel truck trips, half of which will be carrying 20 ton loads!

The road on which this operation is proposed is a difficult mountain road, suitable for routine residential and agricultural use, but it is mixed gravel and dirt which loosens and becomes slippery with use (which caused the death last summer), there are steep dropoffs in places, and it winds around many blind corners. This is an unprecedented proposed hazard to the public using CR 326 to access the many hiking trails (including Opal Lake, one of the most popular trails in the county), and an everyday hazard to the residents in the Basin. This project will affect hundreds of people in Archuleta County.

This operation may not be limited to the present rock estimated at up to 200,000 cubic yards. Although Mr. Feil has neither represented nor denied any intent to operate a gravel crusher beyond the current project, he did represent that the contract with Four Corners may be in effect for up to 10 years suggesting a much larger project is contemplated by the two parties.

Although the county admittedly needs gravel for its projected growth, there are other sources for the gravel that do not entail such dangerous hauls. There are certainly other gravel crushing opportunities that will not be within a ranching/residential community.

Jack Latson

Gary Rawlinson

Off the mark

Dear Editor:

I would like to respond to Mr. Finney’s Letter to the Editor of April 16. He is completely off the mark with regard to President Obama’s policies.

First, President Reagan inherited the worst economy since President Roosevelt. Reagan assumed a year-old recession, high unemployment and skyrocketing inflation attributable to Carter. Obama has wracked up more debt in 45 days than Reagan did in eight years in office. Additionally, Obama insults Americans by heralding his edict to cut his cabinet’s spending by $100 million while promoting a $7 trillion budget. To borrow an analogy from a Harvard economics professor, this would be equivalent to a family with annual spending of $100,000 and a $34,000 debt not buying a $3 latte as their savings plan. The other $33,997 would be put on the family credit card and worried about next year. There is a parallel between Obama and FDR, both proposed “so-called” stimulus programs. As economists have pointed out, FDR’s New Deal programs didn’t stimulate the economy, but extended the Great Depression by seven years. If history is any measure, we can expect the same fate from Obama’s budget that will include unprecedented high inflation.

Second, Mr. Finney must not have noticed the failing Medicare/Medicaid programs not to mention that glaring government boondoggle, Social Security.  We only need to look at the Canadian and British run health care systems to see the frightening reality that they do not work. Britons routinely wait one to two years for basic hip/ knee replacement surgeries. The wait for specialized surgery (e.g. cancer related) is on average of a year. The only thing government-run health care provides is rationing. Perhaps that is the point, weed out the unborn and the elderly in Obama’s culture of death.

Next, Obama’s “cap and trade” environmental program should be renamed “tax and stifle.” If passed, one think tank suggests it will result in $1.7 trillion loss in gross domestic production and increased unemployment.  This would effectively raise an average family’s energy bill by almost $9,000 a year. This, amid over 31,000 scientists signing a petition last year rejecting man-made global warming. The earth warms and cools as a part of a natural cycle (recall the dire warning of global cooling during the ’70s).

Finally, Obama’s suggestion to lengthen the school day/year to improve classroom success is naive, at best. Students and their parents should be given school choice and be held accountable. The current administration’s spending on special interests simply caters to teacher unions and further socializes and destroys the educational system.

Nothing prevents Mr. Finney from paying more in taxes. I pay enough already and foresee little hope in the socialistic changes that Obama is implementing. If Mr. Finney wants to protect the future of all children, he should oppose Obama’s budget and insist Congress cut spending, stop printing money and cut taxes. Americans will have to sacrifice and show financial restraint, but this was the plan Reagan implemented that resulted in economic prosperity for all.

Maggie Watkins

Fort Worth, Texas


Dear Editor:

Following the recent rescue of Capt. Richard Phillips from his pirate captors, Obama and his Washington sycophants claimed that the rescue was due to Obama’s “daring and decisive” leadership. The public needs to know the truth about Obama’s indecisiveness, which could have cost Phillips’ life. What could have been an easy rescue of Phillips within hours, ended up being a four-day standoff between a ragtag group of criminals with rifles and a U.S. Navy warship due to a complete lack of leadership from Obama. Here are the facts:

When the USS Bainbridge with its NSWC expert Navy Seals arrived at the scene of the pirate lifeboat, the pirates fired at the vessel. This gave Phillips the chance to leap into the water and expose the pirates as easy targets. No shots were fired at the pirates. Why?

Against the recommendation of the on-scene commander, Obama refused authorization to engage and rescue. Then, he ordered that nothing be done unless the hostage’s life was in “imminent” danger. When not shooting at the Navy vessel, the captors leveled an AK47 at Phillips’ back. No imminent danger?

Despite repeated requests by the Bainbridge CPN and seal team CDR, Obama refused to declare the situation a case of clear and present danger. Instead, he decided that any outcome other than a “peaceful solution” was unacceptable. He never explained how the Navy should negotiate a “peaceful solution” with three desperate armed pirates with a gun to Phillips’ back. After taking more fire from the captors and realizing that Phillips could be shot any moment, the on-site commander decided that four days was enough, that Phillips’ life was in imminent danger, and ordered the NSWC sharpshooting marksmen to take their shots. Three simultaneous shots were filed, three enemy brigands instantly were KIA, and Phillips was rescued.

Obama immediately claimed victory against pirates in the Indian Ocean and declared that the dramatic end to the standoff was due to his toughness and decisiveness. Had it not been for the decisiveness of the on-site commander, how would Obama have explained Phillips’ death due to his inexplicable indecision and the four-day delay? Had the commander delayed, how soon would Philips have been shot dead? How many more such incidents will it take to convince Obama supporters that they made a tragic mistake in electing him president? How long can the American people tolerate Obama’s inability to lead? Captain Phillips was fortunate. Will the next one be a tragic victim of Obama’s ineptitude?

Eugene Witkowski